Idea to Innovation Program – Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

1. What are the basic principles for Idea to Innovation (I2I) proposals?

Before submitting an application, potential applicants should carefully consider the specific points raised for each phase of the I2I program to assess if their project or technology is suitable and sufficiently advanced for the program.

I2I on the R&D Scale
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2. Why should I apply to this program?

If you are working on the development of a promising technology (either alone or in partnership with a Canadian company) with the goal of transferring that technology to a new or existing Canadian company (i.e., a technology push endeavour), and you need resources to evaluate its effectiveness, verify possible applications, demonstrate reduction-to-practice, build prototypes and/or protect the intellectual property, then the I2I program could be an appropriate source of funding.

3. Who will review my application?

NSERC will seek input from external reviewers who are scientific or technical experts in the area of the proposal. Applicants are asked to suggest the names of appropriate experts whom NSERC will consider as possible reviewers. Applicants may also provide the names of persons whom they do not wish to review their proposal. NSERC will not send an application for review to anyone whom the applicant has specified should not be asked to review the proposal.

Reviews from the scientific or technical experts are provided to the Program Selection Committee. This committee reviews all applications and makes recommendations to NSERC regarding funding of the proposals. This committee includes individuals from all sectors with expertise in business, marketing, academic and industrial project management, and successful technology transfer.

Questions About Eligibility for College-based Researchers

1. Who from the colleges is eligible to submit an application to the I2I program?

College faculty who hold, or have a firm offer of, a faculty appointment at an eligible Canadian college for a permanent position, or a term or a contract position of no less than three years are eligible to submit an application to the I2I program. For more information please consult the Eligibility Criteria for Faculty .

2. May applications be submitted from personnel at technology transfer organizations affiliated with colleges?

Only individuals holding a faculty position at an eligible college may apply. Organizations such as the CCTTs at some Quebec CEGEPs and other technology transfer organizations affiliated with colleges, which provide R&D services and technical support, do not qualify for NSERC eligibility. NSERC presently has no plans to expand its criteria for institutional eligibility.

3. What is an eligible Canadian college?

“College” refers to community college, institute of technology, post-secondary private college or public college (for example, CEGEPs). The college must have been declared eligible by NSERC to administer NSERC grants. To be declared eligible to administer NSERC funds, an institution must submit a written eligibility request to NSERC, signed by the institution’s president/principal or delegate. The requirements for eligibility are described in detail in the Institutional Eligibility Requirements for the Administration of Grants and Awards .

A current List of Eligible Institutions is available.

4. May faculty from colleges that have applied for eligibility but have not yet been declared eligible to administer NSERC grants submit an application to the I2I program?

Projects supported by I2I generally are time sensitive and need to proceed as quickly as possible. NSERC makes every attempt to ensure that there are no delays in the review/decision process and that all the administrative requirements are in place for the institution to receive the funding as soon as the grant is awarded. The college therefore must have already been granted eligibility to administer NSERC funds at the time the application is submitted.

5. What expenses are eligible for support?

NSERC funds must contribute towards the direct costs of the project for which the funds were awarded. The institution provides the indirect or overhead costs, such as the costs associated with facilities and basic utilities, the purchase and repair of office equipment, administration fees, insurance for equipment and research vehicles, and basic communication devices such as telephones, fax machines, etc.

NSERC funds may not be used for any part of the salary, or consulting fee, to the grantee or to other persons whose status would make them eligible to apply for NSERC grants as full or co-applicants or to support release from teaching (replacement personnel) for the grantee. NSERC recognizes that college faculty have heavy teaching loads; however, as many colleges now have research as part of their mandate from the province where they are located, it is therefore not appropriate that NSERC cover any part of the faculty salaries.

In addition to the costs of the research and development activities (refining and implementing designs; verifying application; conducting field studies; demonstrating reduction-to-practice; building engineering prototypes, etc.), an I2I grant can be used to jointly support the costs of technology transfer activities with the institution. These activities include market studies, consulting fees (for business plan development or market surveys), patenting expenses, and expenses associated with creating a partnership (travel). Half the cost of these activities may be supported by NSERC up to a maximum of 10 percent of the total award.

6. The application instructions require that I complete and submit Form 100, the Personal Data Form. This form puts a lot of emphasis on research experience and training of Highly Qualified People. I have heavy teaching commitments and have not had the opportunity to train graduate students and produce many peer-reviewed publications. How will my qualifications be assessed?

Your proposal will be reviewed according to the selection criteria for the program. Each proposal is reviewed on its merits and not in comparison to other proposals. Team expertise and project management is one of the selection criteria, and your expertise or that of the team (if there are co-applicants) will be judged relative to the requirements of the proposal, i.e., whether or not the applicants have the expertise required to conduct the work described in the proposal.

Questions About Signatures

1. Why is the signature of the director of the industry liaison office (ILO), or its equivalent, required on my application in addition to the other institutional signatures?

The signature of the director of the ILO or its equivalent is required because that office must be involved in transferring the technology into the marketplace. The ILO must be involved in completing the section of the proposal on the technology transfer plan and, in particular, must provide information on the commitment of the institution to transfer the technology into the marketplace and its capacity to do so. The funds committed by the ILO or its equivalent in support of technology transfer activities must be included in the proposal. The signature of the director verifies the involvement and commitment of the ILO.

2. My institution does not have an ILO. How should I proceed?

If your institution does not have an ILO or equivalent, the signature, name and position of the individual at your institution with the authority to sign off on the commitment of the institution to transfer the technology into the marketplace must be included on the application. The technology transfer plan must describe who at the institution will be responsible for executing the various aspects of the technology transfer plan.

Questions About the Application

1. What assistance will NSERC provide to me in preparing my application?

Program staff will be pleased to answer any questions that you may have and to provide advice on whether or not the project that you propose is suitable for the I2I program. You are encouraged to contact them at 613-947-9485 or prior to submitting an application. You can also submit a draft of your application prior to submitting a formal application. NSERC staff will review this draft and identify any potential problems or areas where more information is required.

2. What must be included in the technology transfer plan?

The technology transfer plan must describe the commitment of the institution to the project and its capacity to transfer the technology to the marketplace. The plan must be appropriate to the maturity of the technology. It must describe and defend the preferred technology transfer option, giving details on the approach. In addition, the anticipated economic benefits to Canada must be included. Details are given in the application instructions for the program.

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